11 May, 2013

Review - The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The press release proclaims The 5th Wave [US] [UK] to be the next Hunger Games and though it may yet be so (only $750,000 is going into marketing!), I wasn't fully convinced. My thoughts on this book run the gamut of ratings. Here's why: (and there's no coincidence there are 5 waves and 5 stars)

5 Stars

Wow, great start. I just picked it up for a second to get a feel and 100 pages later, I was hooked. Aliens come to earth only to begin to wipe humanity out? Great, this hasn't been done for a while at least not this way.

The aliens, or Others, start killing off humanity through waves as you may have already guessed from the title. The first, they cut off the power. Next, they wipe out all the coastal cities through tidal waves since most large cities are situated near large bodies of water. Then, pestilence and disease and lastly silencers or assassins. Very cool, I want more!

I was even up all night that first night because my mind wouldn't let go of the concept. I was afraid for the aliens in my room one moment, trying to survive on my own in the wilderness the next. There's no way this book could let me down right? ...erm...

4 Stars

It's a brutal reality, people have to survive by whatever means necessary and we're told over and over - trust no one! It's a great tagline, but it begins to break down because when you, as a reader, don't trust anyone, it gets much harder to be surprised. I will say, I never saw what actually does happen coming.

3 Stars

Things are still going well, but suddenly, some unnecessary discussions of current topics pulled me out of the story. Both times, they got me thinking about things that didn't matter at all in the context of the story and really didn't need to be there.

Also, this says this book is for 12 and up, but you better believe I won't be letting my 12-year-olds read it with the language it has. I'm not so oblivious that I don't think they don't hear it all the time, but I disagree with the marketing that says this is for 12-year-olds when it barely makes the PG-13 standards. This is more a personal pet peeve and doesn't take much away from the book.

2 Stars

Something that might have been the reason this book didn't completely work for me, but was definitely was something I couldn't get over. You see, there are only so many people who survived the plague. Individuals were lucky to have their immune system overcome the plague, but it's rare and whole families surviving is almost unheard of. We're getting into spoiler territory so I'll warn you here:

spoiler: Our main protagonist, Cassie, and her father and brother all survive. All but their mother who succumbs to the plague. Almost a complete family and they almost all survive. Everyone else has to figure things out on their own, but they get to rely on each other and especially their father to help them survive.

Skipping over a couple parts, the father agrees to let the younger brother, Sam, who's five-years-old go with some military guys and stay behind because the guys have said they don't have enough room. The father has a hard time with it of course, be he eventually trusts them.

This just wouldn't happen. There's no way. It's rare enough that an almost-complete family could still be together, but for the military to require them to separate would be a huge enough sign that something fishy's going on.

And thus begins where I started to question if I am not the right market for this book. I have three kids and thinking of this situation from this perspective, makes this such an impossible choice it's not even funny. This is something I actually haven't had to think in any previous YA book I've read, especially The Hunger Games and Harry Potter, and I think that's a testament to why they did so well.

1 Star

The love story. Plain and simple, this fast-paced and entertaining novel gets bogged down for love. There are two rather lengthy sections (of 13) devoted to this and each time, all I wanted to do was read something else.

In addition, there's one big "show up" moment toward the end where everyone happens to be at the same place at the same time, but for which an explanation is sorely lacking. 


It's sad because The 5th Wave started out so well. Aliens take over and start wiping humanity out by waves. First the power, then tidal waves, then pestilence and disease, and then assassins. Now it's the fifth wave and what is it? A boring romance? That will definitely wipe this reader out.

3 out of 5 Stars (cutting it down the middle)

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.


Anonymous said...

Not read the book, but just a quick note about one of the points you raise - like pretty much everything else about us, our immune systems have a genetic component. As such, if the factor that determines whether someone survives the plague is inherited, it's quite likely that multiple generations of ten same family would be resistant...

Bryce L. said...

I definitely agree with you, but not only was it highly stressed in the book that few people, if any, had family units, but I don't think it takes away from the fact that it's still extremely rare.

Jen said...

I'm all for a good romance, but I was expecting more of a thrilling SciFi story. Perhaps if the romance scenes had moved faster. Ultimately, I just wasn't able to suspend disbelieve and that is what spoiled it for me. I would have thought an editor would have called Yancey on it. I'd say great concept but faltering execution.

Bastard said...

People are loving this novel, but most of the people I see that share similar interest with this one, have been underwhelmed by it.

I think I'm going to pass.

Allison said...

This is cool!